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April 2, 2019

You Can’t Fully Understand Your Business Without These 3 Sales Reports

All owners and managers look at their sales reports each month. Of course. And the most common top-line measurements are: Revenue this month, Revenue year-to-date (YTD) and Revenue YTD vs. Last YTD. All important information.

But, if my conversations with clients – a lot of them – are any indication, the sales analysis, too often, stops there. And it shouldn’t. There are a few other sales reports – easy to set-up in your accounting software – that will give you deeper insight into what’s really happening in your firm. And once you have a deeper understanding of your business, the more effectively you can plan as you move forward.

The 3 sales reports you should consider adding to your monthly management routine are:

  • Revenue by Service Line
  • Revenue by Market Served
  • Revenue by Key Account

Revenue by Service Line

We all think we know what we’re selling… but what if you don’t, at least not completely? What if the purchase of certain services/products is trending up or down… wouldn’t it be important to know that?

There are two levels of detail to consider here: broad (which is likely more than you’re getting now) and deep. Here’s an example for a Market Research firm:

  • In the broad category, you might track two big service categories: Qualitative Research and Quantitative Research
  • Going deep means drilling down even further under those services, where you might get Qual in-person, Qual online, Basic quant, High-end quant (e.g. max-diff), Hybrid, etc.

Revenue by Market Served

If the category above is the ‘what,’ Revenue by Market Served in the ‘who.’ And depending on your business and your business model, you might need to slice the ‘who’ in any one of a number of ways:

  • By industry vertical: technology, automotive, financial services, etc.
  • By geographical market, particularly if you have multiple offices or work internationally.
  • By market segment: in the B2B world, think company size or type of firm (e.g. manufacturing, services, etc.); in the B2C world, think demographics (e.g. age groups, ethnicity, household income, etc.)
  • By horizontal segment, particularly for B2B: e.g. IT managers, Nurses, C-Suite executives

Revenue by Key Account

Many of the firms we work with are plagued with ‘top-heavyitis’… that is, 2-3-or-4 of their clients account for 40-50-or-60% of their revenue… or more. And while I would certainly advocate for reviewing revenue-by-client for ALL clients, I would absolutely make sure I was reviewing the numbers of my largest clients each month. You need to make sure that you’re not only keeping the business from these key accounts, but also working to grow it.

The Benefits

There are very strong reasons to spend a little extra effort (and it really is just a little) to add to your sales reports in order keep an eye on revenue at your firm, including:

  • Staying on top of possible trends early in their cycle. If you’re doing more business in a particular sector… or if your business with a key account is in slow decline (which you might not notice if overall sales are trending up), better to know that sooner than later.
  • Maybe you’re a specialist… and you just don’t know it. For example, if you’ve historically done business in several vertical industries, wouldn’t it be good to know if one of them is growing larger or faster than the others? It could be something you decide to focus on in marketing campaigns or even to build your brand around.


When our clients start looking at their revenue in these different ways, nearly all of them are surprised. While they all know their business, some of the insight they find here genuinely catches them off-guard.

So, before trends in your business surprise you, take the time to set up your invoicing to track your service lines and the markets you serve, then report on them each month.

To help you get started with these enhanced sales reports, we’ve created a simple-to-use spreadsheet to help you track your revenue in these categories. To get yours, simply request it via email here:

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